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Nevada’s ‘fake electors’ claim state is withholding evidence

Updated April 17, 2024 - 8:12 pm

Attorneys representing Nevada’s Republican electors who submitted fake electoral documents falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the Silver State are accusing the state of withholding evidence that could clear them of wrongdoing.

Six Republicans — Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald, Clark County Republican Party Chairman Jesse Law, Republican National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid, Nevada GOP Vice Chairman Jim Hindle III, Eileen Rice and Shawn Meehan — pleaded not guilty after they were indicted by a grand jury and were charged with offering a false instrument for filing and uttering forged instruments in December.

After the 2020 election, the six Republicans held a ceremony in Carson City, where they signed the electoral certificate giving Nevada’s six electoral votes to Trump, despite his losing to Joe Biden by more than 30,000 votes. On that same day, Nevada’s electors met virtually with the secretary of state and governor, certifying the election results for Biden.

Las Vegas attorneys — led by attorney Richard Wright — representing three of the defendants filed a motion accusing the state of withholding evidence that could exonerate them, both from defense and from the grand jury.

A spokesperson for the office of Attorney General Aaron Ford said it does not comment on pending litigation outside of the comment, but said “we are — and always have been — confident in the merits of our case.”

The attorneys had previously filed motions to dismiss the case and made multiple arguments, including that there was a lack of jurisdiction and that the state failed to provide sufficient evidence.

In their recent motion filed Monday, the attorneys wrote that on March 15, after their multiple requests the state turned over 1,224 pages of new discovery that included emails and text messages from Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who provided testimony to the grand jury about memos he sent regarding the process of submitting the votes in favor of Trump and the national plan to do similar processes in other states Trump did not win.

In one email from December 2020, for example, Chesebro addressed multiple people from the Trump campaign and discussed whether Nevada had litigation pending prior to the ceremony that the electors held in Carson City. Commenting on the Nevada Supreme Court rejecting the Trump campaign’s appeal, Chesebro wrote that it seemed plausible for Nevada to challenge the ruling.

“The Grand Jury was (mis)led to believe that the Nevada Supreme Court decision on December 8, 2020, ended any potential challenge to the election,” the attorneys wrote in the motion.

In another email, Chesebro wrote that having the electors send in “alternate slates of votes … can pay huge dividends even if there is no litigation pending on Jan. 6,” according to the motion the attorneys filed.

That email contradicts testimony Chesebro had previously given saying that litigation was “absolutely necessary for there to be any reason for the contingent electors to vote,” the attorneys argue.

The attorneys argue that the evidence that was left out shows that the defendants’ actions were consistent with Chesebro’s directions and the national plan, and all they did was preserve their First Amendment rights to challenge the outcome of the election.

Judge Mary Kay Holthus will hear the matters next week, and a jury trial is scheduled for January 2025.

Motion for Leave and Reply FINAL by Jessica Hill on Scribd

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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